In honor of Women’s History Month, a month dedicated to highlighting the contributions of women to history and contemporary society, we interviewed Wesley Housing resident and author Ms. Birgit T. Klare, who is using her voice to tell her family’s story of courage and perseverance.
In 2020, at 75 years old, Ms. Klare published her first book, A Woman’s Rise to Courage: A True and Captivating Story of a WWII Survivor, which takes the reader through her mother Thea’s escape from Dresden, Germany to freedom, fighting for her life with her four young children in tow (one being Ms. Klare).
While Ms. Klare couldn’t afford an editor, she spent approximately 10 years writing, re-writing, and going through the process to publication. Her book now resides among some of the world’s most comprehensive collections of human creativity and knowledge in the Library of Congress.
Ms. Klare described her book as “a life coverage of an era that Americans never experienced – the refugees and refugee camps, almost starving to death…” she shared.
When asked what she hopes readers take away from her book, she responded, “Never give up.”
“My mom always said there’s always a tomorrow. See the positive in life. She really lived by those standards. If you find the courage and the meaning, it is possible, and that’s what she instilled in us, her children.”
Ms. Klare firmly believes in the importance of knowing your family history and telling your story. She hopes her work inspires others to tell their story, as it did for her neighbor Judy who recently wrote her life story in her native Korean language upon reading the book.
Living in The Fallstead, Wesley Housing’s affordable senior community in McLean, Ms. Klare remains mentally active and is eager to start a new project as she safely and affordably ages in place. This time, she plans to write a book about her own life and her biggest goal is to see the book as a television show or movie on Netflix or Hulu. If she makes it big in television, we hope she will continue to make The Fallstead her home!
About Ms. Birgit T. Klare:
Birgit T. Klare, born in 1945 in the former East Germany, enjoys the arts, concerts, old movies, the outdoors, and a fun evening in the company of good friends. She was always interested in her own family’s history as well as those of others willing to share their past. Everyone has a story to tell. She reads mostly biographies, memoirs, and books of history. She traveled the globe extensively, appreciating diversified cultures and languages. Birgit lives in McLean, VA with her cat, Ms. Gracie.